On March 5, 2016 two high school tournament fishermen along with an adult boat captain abandoned their quest for big bass glory to save a canoer from drowning in Lake Dardanelle in Russellville, Arkansas.
While fishing in a local tournament, boat captain Micah Piker a combat medic in the Arkansas National Guard along with his brother, high school fishermen David Piker from Pottsville, Arkansas and Nick Kuras from Dardanelle, Arkansas heard yelling from a small group kayaks and canoes in the water that appeared to be in distress and noticed emergency vehicles on the opposite shoreline of the cove they were in.
The fishermen quickly reeled in their lines and headed towards the commotion. When the fishermen turned first responders arrived they found a capsized canoe and a man wearing a life jacket floating face down in the frigid 55 degree water. The two other young paddlers, his grandchildren, at the scene were unable to roll him over in the water.
Kuras and the Piker brothers quickly pulled the victim into their boat. Recognizing the severity of the situation Micah Piker started CPR, Nick Piker rendered first aid while Kuras drove the boat to the opposite shore where an ambulance was waiting.
Without a doubt the fast actions of Kuras and the Pikers provided the victim with a chance of survival by preventing his drowning. Their actions were commended by Little Rock District, Corps of Engineers Deputy District Commander Maj. Andrew Jugan in front of their peers and family at Pottsville High School on March 29, 2016.
The victim ultimately passed away on March 9, 2016 from other health related issues. Without the fishermen’s quick response two grandchildren could have watched their grandfather drown that day.
Jim Milam has been named Engineer of the Year by the Army Corps of Engineers’ Little Rock District. Milam, who lives in Mountain Home, Ark., is the lead engineer for testing and maintenance of hydroelectric power plant equipment within the district.
Milam’s award announcement was the district’s capstone event during the 2016 Engineers Week, Feb. 22 thru 26 that honors how engineers make a difference in the world and increases dialogue regarding the need for engineers in the future.
“It’s a humbling honor to be named Engineer of the Year,” said Milam as he accepted the award from Chief of Engineering and Construction Division Tony Batey. “I’ve seen some really good engineers receive this award and it’s an honor to be recognized among them.”
Milam’s efforts have resulted in decreased forced hydropower outage times and improved safety for the repair of generation equipment. It is estimated that about $6 million dollars of added revenue was returned to the U.S. Treasury as well as $23 million of added benefits because of his efforts.
“I’ve known Jim for a very long time, it’s no surprise he’s being recognized for his outstanding work,” said Batey. “Jim is recognized as an expert in power plant equipment and is regularly consulted by other districts on the engineering analysis and repair of power plant electrical equipment.”
Milam has worked as an electrical engineer at the Bull Shoals Power Plant for more than 30 years and has almost 32 total years of federal service.
“The great people I’ve worked with in the district office, project offices and the hydropower section have made my job fun and rewarding,” Milam said. “I’d like to thank them all.”
Milam is a 1976 graduate of University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. In 1981 he earned a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Arkansas. He is also a licensed professional engineer in the state of Arkansas and an Arkansas licensed master electrician.